Alcohol Risk Cited by Cancer Doctors

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The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the largest known organization of oncologists, released a statement Tuesday on the link between alcohol and cancer. Whether consumption is light, moderate, or heavy, alcohol causes cancers of the breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck, the authors reported.

The researchers also stated that if the drinker ceases consuming alcohol for 20 years or more, the possibility of cancer regresses back to that of non-drinkers.

"If you don't drink, don't start", says Dr LoConte, and "if you do drink try to stay under the recommendations of 1 or less per day for women and 2 or less per day for men".

Alcohol is directly responsible for 5 to 6 percent of new cancers and cancer deaths worldwide, according to the statement.

This week, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) issued a statement identifying alcohol as a "definite" risk factor for cancer. Heavy drinkers face roughly five times the risk of mouth and throat cancers and squamous cell esophageal cancers than nondrinkers, almost three times the risk of cancers of the voice box or larynx, double the risk of liver cancer, as well as increased risks for female breast cancer and colorectal cancer. While it is okay to drink occasionally (read rarely), you shouldn't be making a habit out of it. The statement is meant to raise awareness about the strong link between alcohol and cancer.

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Heavier drinking is linked with greater risks, the statement said. "We also can't ignore the fact that in many United States counties a quarter of the people, or more, are binge drinkers".

For people who choose to drink alcohol, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that men consume no more than two drinks per day and women consume no more than one drink per day to reduce the risk of alcohol-related harms, including cancer.

"We're supporting policy strategies like limiting youth access to alcohol, limiting hours of sale, limiting locations of sale, raising the cost of alcohol", she said. "Don't start.' This is a little more subtle".

There has been some debate over whether alcohol itself, or other elements come the compositions of various alcoholic beverages are cancer-causing. "It is really the heavy drinkers over a long period of time that we need to worry about", she said.